As politicians, law enforcement and the public all discuss the recent uptick in alleged crimes committed by offenders out on bail, True North has compiled a list of some recent examples.
- The Killing of OPP Const. Gregorz Pierzchala
On December 27, 2022, rookie Ontario Provincial Police Constable Gregorz Pierzchala was murdered in the line of duty when responding to a call of a vehicle stuck in a ditch. The alleged cop-killer Randall McKenzie, who has been charged with first degree murder in Pierzchala’s killing, was out on bail for firearms offences and assaulting a police officer.
OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique said that Pierzchala’s death was preventable and expressed outrage at the fact McKenzie was out on bail. “This should have never happened. Something needs to change. Our police officers, your police officers, my police officers, the public deserve to be safeguarded against violent offenders who are charged with firearms-related offences,” Carrique said. “I’m outraged by the fact that McKenzie was out on bail and was provided the opportunity to take the life of an innocent officer.”
- Christmas Day killing in Calgary
On December 25, 2022, Yosef Hagos allegedly shot and killed 24-year-old Samuel Welday Haile in a southeast Calgary neighbourhood on Christmas day.
Hagos was arrested in April 2022 for holding up a pharmacy with a firearm in Moosejaw, Saskatchewan. Hagos’ court date for his armed robbery charges was scheduled for March 8, 2023.
- “Man Arrested for Attempted Murder while Already on Release for Attempted Murder”
On January 6, 2023, the Peel Regional Police posted a press release with the blunt headline: “Man Arrested for Attempted Muder while Already on Release for Attempted Murder.”
As described in the title, an offender named Elijah Simpson-Sweeney was arrested on January 4, 2023, for attempted murder and assault. At the time of Simpson-Sweeney’s arrest, he was out of prison on a release order for a separate attempted murder charge and firearms related offences.
According to the press release, Simpson-Sweeney was also wanted by the Toronto Police Service for second degree murder and attempted murder.
- Brampton man ordered to stay out of St. Catherines goes to St. Catherines
35-year-old Brampton resident Thoby Guerrier was arrested in downtown St. Catherines after he was ordered by an Ontario court to not enter the Niagara region.
Guerrier was originally arrested in April 2022 in St. Catherines for robbery and assault charges, in which Guerrier allegedly robbed, attacked, and threatened to kill a man. Two months after Guerrier’s release, he was found acting aggressively and scaring customers in a downtown St. Catherines bar.
- Saskatchewan mass murder
The nation responded in shock when news broke of a mass stabbing in Saskatchewan, where Myles Sanderson went on an alleged murder spree throughout the James Smith Cree Nation, killing ten people and wounding eighteen. Sanderson had an extensive criminal history.
In 2015, Sanderson was accused of repeatedly stabbing and attacking his in-laws, resulting in him being charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, and possession of a weapon. He served two years for the incident. In November 2017, Sanderson forced somebody to rob a restaurant by threatening them with a gun.
In June 2018, Sanderson was arrested, during which he kicked a police officer in the head. Sanderson was released early because, in the parole board’s opinion, Sanderson wasn’t a risk to society. “It is the Board’s opinion that you will not present an undue risk to society if released on statutory release and that your release will contribute to the protection of society by facilitating your reintegration into society as a law abiding citizen.”
- Toronto cop-killer’s criminal record dates back decades
On September 13, 2022, 40-year-old Sean Petrie allegedly shot and killed Toronto police officer Const. Andrew Hong in a Mississauga Tim Hortons.
Petrie’s criminal record goes back to 2002, where he was convicted on assault charges and failing to comply with release conditions. In 2015 Petrie faced child pornography charges and in 2016, Petrie faced a robbery charge, but both of these charges were dropped.
- Armed robbery puts store clerks in critical condition
On January 5, a London, Ontario, Gold Buyers store was robbed, with a male store clerk being shot in the chest and his female co-worker hit in the head with a blunt object. Both were rushed to the hospital in critical condition.
Tyreese Brown-Austin, one of the alleged assailants, was previously charged in September 2021 with drug charges and firearm possession charges. While on bail for those charges, in March 2022 Brown-Austin was arrested and charged for obstruction, flight from police, and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle.
- Serial assaults in downtown Vancouver
A Vancouver man captured on video assaulting strangers pleaded guilty to five assault charges for incidents between June 19 and July 19, 2022. Shakwan David Kelly had been serving probation for a 2020 assault and a 2021 mischief conviction when he had assaulted two security guards at Vancouver General Hospital on June 19. Kelly went on to attack a stranger on board Vancouver’s public transit, assaulted another person on or near transit, and knocked down a mother and her toddler where he was arrested soon after.
Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada Pierre Poilievre has blamed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for passing legislation making it easier for persons charged with an offence to be released early.
“Trudeau brought in C-75. No one forced him to do it,” said Poilievre in an interview with True North’s Andrew Lawton. “He passed it and he stood by it ever since. Trudeau has introduced laws to reduce sentences for violent gun offences, and that too will make life more dangerous.”